Maquiladora Women Condemn Sweatshop Labor in U.S. Tour
The National Labor Committee has brough teenagers Claudia Molina and Judith Viera to the U.S. to raise awareness about the horrendous working conditions that workers in Central American and Caribbean free trade zones (maquiladora workers) face.
These factories nearly enslave their workers, many of whom are paid less than fifty centes per hour, a wage that is not even sufficient to buy nutritious food. The workers at the plants, who are predominantly teenage girls and women, often work 15 hours or more a day, 6 days a week, are exposed to hazardous working conditions, robbed of their right to education, and discouraged from seeking medical attention.
Companies such as the Gap, Eddie Bauer, Banana Republic, Gitano (part of Fruit of the Loom), and others have exploited maquiladora workers for profit.
Charles Kernaghan is fighting the exploitation of maquiladora workers as executive director of the National Labor Committee in New York. He said that factories "find those workers who will accept the lowest wages, the fewest benefits and the most miserable working conditions."
Media Resources: New York Times - September 9, 1998
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .